How Young is Too Young for Gynecomastia Surgery?
A New Zealand publication reported recently that boys as young as eight years old are lining up for male breast reduction consultations. In an article in The Press in February, Dr. John Masters, a plastic surgeon who practices in Wellington, said that surgery for gynecomastia is becoming more common among various groups of men, including adolescents.
So, just how young is too young for gynecomastia surgery? In our New York City practice, we treat hundreds of male patients with enlarged breasts each year. Dozens of them are adolescents. (You can learn more about teen gynecomastia, our experience and the patients we treat on our website devoted to gynecomastia.) We believe that male breast reduction is appropriate for many adolescents with man boobs.
Nevertheless, in our view, eight years old is too young to go under the knife. Here’s why.
Even though the average age of the onset of puberty in boys is nine to ten years old – earlier than previously thought, according to a 2012 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics – at age eight most boys are not there yet. This means they are not experiencing the significant hormonal changes that often prompt the growth of man boobs (many to disappear in time, some to persist).
If not brought about in puberty, then, why would an eight year old develop moobs? Here are some possible reasons:
- Obesity – the most likely cause
- Hormonal abnormality – consultation with an endocrinologist might be in order
- A brain abnormality, tumor or injury – these are rare but possible
The youngest patient to undergo gynecomastia surgery in New York with us was 12 years old. We waited an entire year before performing male breast reduction for this young man, to ensure his moobs were stable (he had the condition for a full three years prior to surgery) and to be satisfied that he was ready for some post-op discomfort and the healing process.
Though an eight year old is too young for male breast reduction, he’s not too young to come in for a consultation. If your son is suffering, we would welcome the chance to talk with all of you in our Manhattan offices. We have three decades of experience with gynecomastia to share. We can make suggestions to help, starting with a compression garment to help disguise the condition and boost confidence.
Fill out our online form and we will contact you, or call us at 212-870-6080 to set up a meeting.